I’m pretty sure we’re way more than 1/3 of the way through the season, but I felt like doing this post so here we are. If you have an issue with it, you will be issued a full refund at the end of the post.
The Sox are 28-34, so there are going to be several less than awesome grades. I’m looking in your general direction, outfielders. And starting rotation. And Edward Mujica.
Let’s get to it.
RNEEM stands for Relievers Not Named Edward Mujica. I wanted to start with them and give them a shoutout because they’ve been mostly phenomenal but it doesn’t really get noticed since most of it has been “Oh hey guys, Clay allowed 7 runs in 2.1 innings…can you just try and hold them to 9 runs while we try to come back?”.
Koji has been stellar. .68 ERA (.68 ERA!), 12.1 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 and a .75 WHIP.
Tazawa has been fantastic: 2.36 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.16 WHIP
Andrew Miller is striking out an insane 14 per 9 innings while having a BB/9 below 4 for the first time in his career (3.16).
Burke Badenhop has been a double-play inducing machine (62% Groundball %…5th amongst AL relievers).
They’ve been awesome. If only they had more leads to protect.
John Lackey: A
The Lack Attack has been the Sox best, most consistent starter so far (not the highest praise in the world since they only have 2 good ones, but still). His numbers are in line with his very good year last year and he has only had 3 bad starts out of 13. Their team option for him for the league minimum next year is a fucking STEAL.
Jon Lester: A
The argument could also be made for Lester as the Sox best starter. He has a 3.52 ERA, but with peripherals that suggest it should be even lower. His 10.1K/9 would be a career high, as would his 2.4 BB/9. He’s pitching like a guy who wants a big contract next year and as long as he keeps this up at least somewhat, it had damn well better be the Red Sox that give it to him.
David Ortiz: A-
Papi has gone through some big slumps and also gone on some hellacious tears. His numbers right now would be his worst since the 2009-10ish range, but those numbers are still .259/.363/.491 with 14 HRs (only one on the team in double digits), which are pretty damn solid.
Xander Bogaerts: A-
Bogaerts has a .384 OBP which is good for 2nd best amongst all big league shortstops and his .444 SLG is tied for 5th.
When compared to other big league third basemen, those numbers are 2nd and 8th.
I still want him playing SS because there are SO few of them that can hit these days, that having an elite hitting one gives you such an advantage, but alas, Will Middlebrooks decided to create an enormous hole at 3B.
Oh did I mention he’s 21? Hey let’s look quickly at the list of guys who have played an entire season at age 21 and posted an OBP of .384 or better and slugged .444 or better, shall we?
Wait who are those guys? Are they good? Do you want to be on lists with them?
He started out EXTREMELY shaky on D at short and I thought started to come into his own by the time they resigned Drew, which was another reason I was bummed that they moved him back to 3B.
Brock Holt: B+
I only downgrade Holt since he has so few at bats (his 126 plate appearances are the 2nd lowest of anyone I’m giving a grade to), but he’s been great when given the chance. There is no way he finishes with anything remotely near his current .339/.376/.478 slash line, but he’s at least proven that he belongs on his team as the backup infielder (and now outfielder) once he cools off and everyone is healthy. He’s been one of 5 productive hitters on the team so far (along with Papi, Pedroia, Xander and Napoli) and that is NOT something I though’t I’d be saying last year when he struggled at AAA.
Mike Napoli: B
Nap has been good when healthy, but also missed some time with injuries. I’m am OBP guy and his is spectacular this year (.401), but his power numbers are down. His .444 SLG isn’t bad, but it’s well below his career numbers and would be his worst since 2007. He’s getting on base though, and I have little doubt that the power will come.
Dustin Pedroia: B
Pedroia’s numbers are down across the board this year, but he’s still been solid. Excluding his cameo in 2006, his .275 AVG this year would be his worst ever, his .350 OBP would be his 2nd worst ever and his .389 SLG would be his worst ever. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned that playing through that thumb injury last year might have messed him up going forward, so hopefully he does what he’s done in the past and catches fire as the weather warms up.
Even if he doesn’t, a 2b with a .350 OBP and stellar D is still nice to have around.
A.J. Pierzynski: C+
Meh. Pierzynski has been basically what we thought he’d be, except maybe a little worse. He is allergic to drawing walks (3.2 BB% is 8th worst in the league), but still makes a lot of contact and hits for an OK average. He’s hit with less pop than I was hoping for though. He’s fine. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frequently checking in on how Christian Vazquez is doing at AAA (he’s been ok) and Blake Swihart have been at AA (he’s been awesome) though.
Jake Peavy: C-
Peavy has been a heaping pile of mediocrity so far this year. His 4.72 ERA is the 2nd worst of his career, his 6.6 K/9 is THE worst of his career and his 3.63 BB/9, while still not terrible, is the 2nd worst of his career. He’s at least thrown 74.1 innings, so he hasn’t wreaked havoc on the bullpen like the 2 guys we’ll get to much later, but they’ve been 74.1 innings of pure blah.
Jonny Gomes: C-
The good news is that Gomes his hitting .303/.422/.485 against lefties.
The bad news is that Gomes is hitting .169/.247/.296 against righties.
The worse news is that he’s been playing a ton against righties.
The Sox OF situation is bleak.
David Ross/Shane Victorino/Mike Carp: D+
I’m lumping these guys together because due to injuries (or in Ross’ case being the backup catcher), they’ve accumulated roughly the same amount of plate appearances (not a lot), but they’re also big enough parts of the team that I feel like they should be mentioned.
Victorino has an hamstring either made out of egg shells or wet paper towel because it bothered him all last year and is still bothering him this year. I was so down on him heading into last year and he ended up being so amazing that anything the Sox get out of him now is a bonus to me, but I’d like to see him get healthy because the Sox outfield is such an atrocity I’m surprised they can show it on TV without censoring it.
Grady Sizemore: D+
Oh Grady. How badly I want you to do well. I’ve long been a fan of Grady Sizemore and coming out of spring training I was fully in the “Give him a shot and if he gets hurt or sucks then let him go” camp. Well, he shockingly has not gotten hurt, but he hasn’t hit much either. .222/.291/.333 isn’t really gonna cut it and it’s not really helping that he’s not great in center anymore. He showed signs of life in May, but has gone back to struggling in the early going of June. This is a guy who basically took 2 years off, so its understandable that he’d take a little while to get going, but he’s gonna have to start building on his decent May in June real soon.
Jackie Bradley: D+
The reason a guy hitting .203/.286/.294 gets a D+ and not an F is because JBJ is a tremendous center fielder. He’s the best they’ve had out there in years and that’s no insult to Ellsbury, Bradley is just that good.
But it is EXCRUCIATING to watch the guy hit right now. He’s just so overmatched. I’m still refusing to give up on him though. He’ll never hit for power, but this is a guy who had almost identical .270 AVG and .370 OBP seasons in AA and AAA in 2012 and 2013 and is only 24. They have such little options in the OF (especially in center) that I think they should keep throwing him out there and see if he can show signs of life, but it’s been tough to watch so far.
Daniel Nava: D
You know how I mentioned above that Gomes has been playing a ton against righties? Well, Nava is why. He was due to come back to earth after his insane 2013 season, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming. .167/.257/.256. Woof. He’s basically been Jackie Bradley without the defense. I still think he should play more against righties though. He showed last year that he can hit them, while Gomes has shown for the majority of his career (save for some clutch hits last year), that he really can’t.
Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront: F
Mr. Buchholz and Mr. Doubront. The innings you have pitched are some of the most insanely awful games I have ever seen. At no point in your painful, excruciating starts were you even close to anything resembling major league pitchers. Everyone in this stadium is now worse for having seen it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
As long as Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman are pitching servicably in the bigs, Clay and Felix should spend awhile in the minors “recovering” from their “hyper-extended knee” and “shoulder” that was injured “walking into a car door” and proving they can get minor league hitters out before they are in Boston again.
PS I wonder how they come up with the fake reasons to put guys on the DL when they suck? Is that part of the bench coaches’ responsibility? Does the pitcher have to approve the fake injury or does he just tell he team to go with whatever they want? Maybe they pull injuries out of a hat. So many questions.
Edward Mujica: F
Good news, Dustin Hermanson! Edward Mujica is coming for your spot on the shitty Red Sox relievers with shitty beards Mt. Rushmore!